Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Jatayu at the Urday website.

JATAYU, JATAYUS. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] According to the Ramayana, a bird who was son of Vishnu's bird Garuda, and king of the vultures. Others say he was a son of Aruna.

He became an ally of Rama's, and he fought furiously against Ravana to prevent the carrying away of Sita. Ravana overpowered him and left him mortally wounded. Rama found him in time to hear his dying words, and to learn what had become of Sita. Rama and Lakshmana performed his funeral rites to "secure his soul in the enjoyments of heaven," whither he ascended in a chariot of fire.

In the Puranas he is the friend of Dasaratha. When that king went to the ecliptic to recover Sita from Sani (Saturn), his carriage was consumed by a glance from the eye of the latter, but Jatayu caught the falling king and saved him. The Padma Purana says Dasaratha assailed Saturn because of a dearth, and when he and his car were hurled from heaven, Jatayu caught him.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM